MediaBrix’s New Prez, Stash’s $9.25M, & Tapad Mentors Norwegian Startups
These final weeks of summer have not slowed the activity across New York’s innovation scene—from a pair of funding rounds to the introduction of a mentorship program that will bring startups from Norway to the city.
On Monday, New York-based MediaBrix, a mobile ad firm, expanded its management team with the hiring of its first president, and the company also raised $6.5 million in new funding.
Richard Kosinski (pictured), previously president of U.S. operations for social video ad platform Unruly—acquired last September by News Corp.—is taking on the newly created role at MediaBrix. He also became chief revenue officer for the company.
MediaBrix CEO Ari Brandt says he needed another senior person onboard to let him focus on product- and data-related initiatives.
Brandt says he worked together with Kosinski years prior when they both were at Yahoo, and wanted to tap into his experience in sales and marketing. In addition to working at Yahoo and Unruly, Kosinski was a senior vice president in sales at Quantcast and his leadership is expected to come into play at MediaBrix. “He has taken companies from $40 million in revenue to $150 million,” Brandt says. “We’re at that inflection point where we need that to get to the $100 million number.”
The company will also double down on its research efforts in order to scale up. With the new funding, Brandt says, MediaBrix will invest more in data science and new hires for various roles on the technical team. Edison Partners, Revel Partners, and Horizon Technology Finance participated in the latest round. So far MediaBrix has raised $18 million since its founding in 2011. “We’ve started doing a lot of research around neuromarketing and we see big opportunities around understanding when users are receptive to ads,” Brandt says.
This is of particular importance, he says, as the advertising industry faces an audience that is getting harder to reach. The rise of ad blockers and other ways people reject ads have made it more difficult for marketing messages to be seen and heard, he says. Something has got to change—or at least someone needs to try new ideas. “It’s not sustainable,” Brandt says. “People are preconditioned now to look for the ‘X’ button on mobile ads because they’re annoyed by them.”
Meanwhile, there was action in another part of the local adtech scene, which will herald the arrival of a few new entrepreneurs from Europe to the city. Last week, marketing technology firm Tapad announced it will bring five early-stage startups from Norway to New York to be mentored in its Propeller Program. Tapad was acquired in February by Telenor Group. Starting in September, the selected startups will spend 12 months at Tapad’s workspace to get guidance from the company’s management, including CEO Are Traasdahl, a native Norwegian. This first class of the program includes Bubbly, BylineMe, Eventum, Socius, and Xeneta.
And in the financial services sector, Stash, developer of an investing app, said Wednesday that it raised $9.25 million in a Series A round led by Goodwater Capital along with Valar Ventures. Entrée Capital participated as well in the round. Stash’s app, which launched last October, is aimed at novices to trading stocks, letting them dabble in the market for as little as $5. The company’s new funding follows a $3 million seed round in February, which also included Goodwater, Valar, and Entrée as investors.